Back to School News 2021-2022

Hawley Elementary School ~ August 2021

From the Desk of Mr. Moretti

Dear Hawley Parents/Guardians,

Well, after what we all have been through the last year and a half, it is my hope that you all have had some time to enjoy summer reconnecting with family and friends while making some nice memories by doing safe activities at your comfort level.

I have been doing the same. Here is a picture of me "getting out and about," "communing with nature," and "getting some exercise." There is a reason it is called The Road Less Traveled! I knew I should have gone left at the dead stump (NO Principals were hurt in the taking of this photo ;0)~

We have been busy gearing up for the start of another, how should I put it, "exciting" school year. I am not sure it is going to be exactly what we were hoping it could be, but I know that it will be the BEST that it can be.

We are looking forward to seeing all of our returning faces while welcoming our new students and families to the Hawley School Community. This Newsletter shares a lot of IMPORTANT information that will be helpful for you to have prior to the start of school. Please read carefully and save pertinent information to reference as needed.

As always, if you have any unanswered questions, do not hesitate to contact me.

See you soon-

Christopher Moretti
Excited Hawley Principal


Greetings from Ms. Tischio (our NEW Lead Teacher)

Dear Hawley Families,

Welcome to the 2021-2022 school year! I am happy to report that I will be the new Lead Teacher at Hawley. While I am new to the position, I am not new to Hawley. I was fortunate enough to have both of my children complete their elementary education in this wonderful environment. In fact, my oldest daughter’s artwork still hangs in the building--and she’s 21! My younger daughter is at the high school and has fond memories of Hawley’s teachers. Both of my children built their artistic and academic foundations here at Hawley.

Some of the memories that come up most at the dinner table are the community service projects Hawley supported. From food and clothing drives to hands-on experiences in the world, my daughters learned the importance of community engagement. True to their motto, “Work Hard and Be Kind”, Hawley’s support of community service projects allows kids to build important interpersonal and civic skills. Empathy, compassion, and responsibility are just a few that come to mind. These opportunities to serve others are truly life changing. Hawley is committed to the development of the whole child. Providing students opportunities to pursue interests, develop skills, and grow into global citizens is our foremost concern.

In addition to being a Hawley parent, I have been an educator in Newtown for 25 years. I have served at the kindergarten, second and intermediate levels. In each experience, I learned the importance of the foundational years. I value creativity, collaboration, and perseverance in the learning process. With parents as partners, I will work to develop those ideals in your children.


Carla Tischio

Lead Teacher, Hawley Elementary School

~ Gotta Be BETTER Than Last Year, Remember? ~

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Our Dynamic Teachers are back and excited to greet their students (under any conditions). With enrollment shifts, retirements, departures and changes to our schedule- we have some new Teams and Departments. (Also, see next section for information on our *new teachers).

Here is our Amazing Starting Lineup:

Lead Teacher

  • Carla Tischio*

School Nurse

  • Julie Johnson


  • Ms. Albano, Mrs. Cappelli, Ms. Lubin & Mrs. Massett*

Grade 1

  • Mrs. Davies, Mrs. Leja & Mrs. Shanahan

Grade 2

  • Mrs. Fries, Mrs. Rea & Mrs. Whitmore

Grade 3

  • Mrs. Galassi, Mrs. Pirone & Mrs. Vazzano

Grade 4

  • Ms. Markelon, Mr. Poeltl & Ms. Tatto


  • Mrs. Griffin & Ms. Giddings*


  • Mrs. Carlson


  • Mrs. Marak


  • Mr. Michlovitz


  • Senora Basso*

Special Education

  • Jorie Howgego, Stephanie Kim & Kelly Lilly

Mental Health

  • Amanda Perna- Psychologist
  • Casey Sollazzo*- Counselor

Related Services

  • Amy Speiser- Speech and Language
  • Deb Carty- OT
  • Kristen Espitee- PT


  • Patti Vitarelli- Language Arts Consultant
  • Elisabeth Douglass- Reading Teacher
  • Nancy Scallon- Reading Teacher
  • Amy Hiruo- Math Science Specialist
  • Kristina Pierce*- Math Teacher


  • Sherry Earle


There have been some staff additions. We are fortunate to have found amazing talent to add to our school this year. Please join me in welcoming the following individuals to the Hawley School Community/Family.
  • Carla Tischio is our New Lead Teacher. Her kids went to Hawley and she has taught K, 2nd & 5th grades in Newtown for 25 years.
  • Melissa Massett has been teaching Kindergarten at Middle Gate. She joins us as we needed an extra section.
  • Casey Sollazzo is our new School Counselor. She comes to us from North Haven Public Schools and having completed her Internship at Head O'Meadow.
  • Jennifer Giddings is a new art teacher joining us from Waterbury Public Schools where she successfully taught Elementary Art.
  • Kristina Pierce has been a very successful 3rd grade teacher at Sandy Hook for quite some time. We are thrilled to have her join us in our new role of Math Intervention Teacher that is being shared with SH.
  • Marissa Basso re-joins our World Language Department. She taught Spanish to our 4th graders preCovid.


Earlier this Summer, All School Districts were asked by the State to submit a Return to School Plan for the Fall. Click HERE for Newtown's Plan (as of June 23, 2021).

Many things are evolving and their may be changes as we get closer to the start. Here is some basic information as of now:

  • Everyone will be wearing masks in the building and on buses per the Governor's Executive Order.
  • We are going to space students (per State Guidelines) 2-3 ft apart or BEST we can. This can be best achieved by either desks in rows or perhaps in groups or by using tables. Maximum distancing will vary and is based on the configuration of the room and number of students in the class.
  • Remote Learning will NOT be an option
  • If a student needs to Quarantine, work will be provided through Google Classroom/Seesaw to be completed with staff members checking in through scheduled Google Meets periodically throughout the day. Students in this situation will not be marked absent as long as they complete the work and attend the scheduled live help sessions.

As things become more defined or if there are changes, I will share them with you. I also have created a Google Document for questions. You can add any question to the document and I will answer it as soon as I have the most updated information. Review this document often for previously asked questions and the most current information.

Click HERE for the document. Shortly, it can also be found on our School Website, under Hawley Parent Resources.


I realize that there are differing views about masks. Unfortunately, that decision is out of our hands. That being said, we want students relaxed, comfortable and to wear their masks. The best way to accomplish this is for you to be encouraging and supportive in front of them.

Everyone in the building (Staff, Students, Visitors) will wear masks at all times, at least to start. It is my hope that all students will be reacclimated to wearing masks upon return. Students that refuse to wear or keep a mask on will be encouraged to do so. In the event we are unsuccessful in getting a student to keep on a mask, a parent may be called to come help or to pick the child up.

We are aware that wearing a mask all day, especially in warm weather, is uncomfortable. There will be opportunities for mask breaks under conditions that still meet the Sate/District Safety Guidelines. When spaced farther apart, 8-10 feet, and outside or in a large area (like the Multi-Purpose Room), students can remove their masks. They will also receive managed mask breaks in the classroom while spaced out. Students also will not be wearing masks during lunch or snack, as they will be spaced further apart. Students will not be required to wear masks when outside at recess, unless requested by the parent.

AGAIN, this is all as of today and is subject to change at any time.

~ Too Soon ?? ~

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We are trying to keep as many traditions as we can while following State/District Guidelines. So these events are going to happen, they are just going to look a little different.

Kindergarten Bus Run

We are holding this event on Friday, 8/27, from 8:00-9:30. Buses will pick students up between 8:05-8:45 (depending on the route). Students arrive at Hawley between 8:45-9:00. Students not riding the bus or that won't board a bus, can be dropped off at Hawley around 9:00. Students will meet their teacher and classmates, see their classroom, do an activity and watch a bus safety video. Parents will pick students up in their classrooms at 9:30.


A highlight of mine each year is the Walk-Through. I just love the excitement of all the kids back in the building and the energy of seeing everyone again. It will take place on Friday, 8/27, from 9:30-10:30. Teachers have a scheduled Professional Development workshop at 10:45 so there will be an announcement for a prompt departure.

This event will raise anxiety in some but there is a value of beginning the school year connecting with families and that remains our priority, especially now. We want parents and students to see classrooms and meet their teacher. Not having this last year was stressful and sad. Please Note: if you have reservations, it is Optional.

For these events to occur, we will ask the following allowing everyone to be safe and for us to best manage crowds:

  • Everyone in the school building must be masked at all times.
  • Students MUST remain with parents at all times.
  • Please do not remain in one location for more than 15 minutes.

We sincerely appreciate your understanding and support of these parameters that are needed for us to be able to hold these exciting and valuable events.

Parking Lot

At Hawley School, parking is a luxury. We only have 1 entrance/exit, a narrow drive-way and barely enough parking spaces for staff. There are 3 Visitor Parking Spaces by our Main Entrance. Our School Community has always been extremely patient, flexible and courteous when it comes to this and it has always been greatly appreciated by all.

Please maintain proper speed (5-10 mph),

Do not use your cell phone while driving,

Allow others to pass and be mindful of Bus Lights.


In the morning, buses will be unloaded one at a time by grade level. This reduces the number of students on the Bus Loop at one time as well as in the hallways.

Student Drop Off

Parents are encouraged to have students ride the bus to school. Students that are driven in the morning are to be dropped off at the designated area around the back of the building. Please follow the signs/cones into the playground blacktop area forming 3 lines facing the playscape. As one line fills, please start another as not to block cars from entering. (See below design)

A staff member will wave you on to the drop off turnaround area. For safety, parents do not exit the car, but rather pull up to the designated area and students exit the car on the right side and enter the building immediately. Please pull up a car length past the door to allow more students to be dropped off, moving the line faster. Staff members will be at the door to monitor safe drop off procedures.

Students are not to be dropped off at the main entrance during Drop Off times. Any student dropped off after 9:00 am will need to be escorted into the building by an adult and signed-in. Drivers are reminded not to be using cell phones while driving in the parking lot.

~ Dismissal & Student Pick Up ~


Our dismissal procedure will remain managed this year to limit the number of students in the hallways at one time. Students will be escorted to Bus Rooms/Hallways and then to buses as they are called.

VERY IMPORTANT (please read carefully)

Student Pick-Up

Our Parent Pick-Up process was a challenge Pre-Covid simply based on limited space in our parking lot. It became even more difficult last year with the added layer of Covid Guidelines. What we came up with was actually a better system and was so well-received that we are keeping it the same.

BIGGEST CHANGE: We are NOT dismissing students early that need to get over to the Reed School to pick up siblings. Siblings will need to ride over on the Shuttle Buses or carpools need to be arranged to conveniently pick up at both schools.

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Parents are encouraged to have students ride the bus home. If you are picking up your child, please note that dismissal begins at 3:37 p.m. No car should begin lining up before 3:30 p.m. as the playground is gated and cars can not back up into the driveway as it interferes with buses and traffic on Church Hill Rd. Please Note: You may pull into any line at the beginning, as there is no longer an early pick up time for parents picking up Hawley students then going to pick up students at Reed.

Vehicles pull into the Blacktop Playground Area, forming 3 lines (facing the playscape). If at the end, please begin a new line to not block cars from entering. Please display the provided sign of the student’s last name (preferably on the passenger’s visor or dashboard). You will be waved around to the dismissal loop and students will be brought to your car. For safety, there is no need for parents to exit vehicles.

If a Reed student is also being picked-up, we ask that you do not arrive until 3:45 p.m. (as that is when the Shuttle Buses arrive). Students get off the shuttle, show a pass, and will join his/her sibling in the gym to be picked-up there together.

It is imperative that you learn this system and explain it to anyone else picking up your child. Student's last names must be displayed to not delay the process. If the sign is lost or damaged, you simply can write the last name on a piece of paper large enough to be read at a distance.

As people learn and follow the system, it continuously flows and does not back up interfering with buses or traffic. I am expecting delays at first and your patience and support is always appreciated.

Bus Information / Walkers

Bus routes will be available on August 20, 2021, online at the Newtown Public Schools website, under Parents then Transportation, or by Clicking HERE. They will also appear in The Newtown Bee’s Back To School edition.


  • In the morning, buses stop at Hawley first and then go to Reed.
  • In the afternoon, Reed students are picked up first and buses then come to Hawley.
  • Reed students, in the afternoon, transfer from the shuttle buses to the bus they take home, or go to the gym if being picked-up with a Hawley sibling.
  • A Reed student can only be picked up at Hawley if they have a Hawley sibling.


  • Students being picked-up after school need a note saying so. Notes can be sent in as needed, daily, or a permanent one-time note (ex. everyday, every Tuesday).
  • Notes about a student being picked-up should be sent in to whichever school the student attends (Hawley/Reed). Reed will communicate this information to us.
  • All pick-ups occur in the gym (see procedures above under student pick up)
  • Reed students WITH Hawley siblings can be picked-up together at Hawley. We get a list of pick-ups from Reed, the Reed student gets off the shuttle, walks in the front door, and meets their sibling until picked up by a parent in the gym.
  • Again, No Reed student is picked-up at Hawley if there is no sibling attending Hawley. They are picked-up at Reed.


  • A walker is defined as a student that walks off the school campus with no adult. If a parent meets a student, even if they walk home together, the student will need to walk alone to the front of the building and meet the parent there.
  • Walkers gather in our lobby, check in with our guard and then leave.
  • Reed students can meet a sibling in the lobby, check in with our guard, and walk as well.
  • There is a waiver that needs to be signed giving permission to walk and taking responsibility for determining and teaching the student safe routes. The waiver is available on our school website under Hawley Parent Resources or by Clicking HERE.

Bus Reminders

  • Each year, buses are delayed the first few days of school as routes and stops are ironed out and tweaked. The speed of routes depend on the number of students on the bus and, of course, weather and traffic. A routine and dependable time does emerge.
  • Bus Passes to other houses, per District Protocol, is usually restricted and/or limited. Parents needing a student to ride a different bus for Day Care purposes need to call AllStar Bus Company (203-304-9779) to determine if there is room, the school is then notified by AllStar, with the parent following up for confirmation. It has not yet been determined if this will even be permitted under current conditions.
  • If your child goes to different locations during the week (ex. daycare Tuesday and Thursday) in which bus transportation is available, you can fill out an Alternative Bus Stop Form. The form is available on our school website under Parents then Transportation or by Clicking HERE.
  • If you are allowing your student to be dropped off at a bus stop with no adult present, a Bus Drop Off Waiver form must be filled out. The form is available on our school website under Parents then Transportation or by Clicking HERE.

Your patience the first few weeks is greatly appreciated. At first, please arrive at bus stops a little early and remain at bus stops a little afterward just to be safe until predictable routines are established. Let the bus company know directly if there are any issues.

You certainly can also feel free to contact the school with any questions that you may have.

Miscellaneous Information

  1. District School Calendar 2021/2022: click here
  2. 2021-2022 Supply Lists: Located on our school website under the Hawley Parent Resources tab or you can click here
  3. District Early Release and Delayed Opening Professional Development Days: click here for a complete list. PLEASE Save and Reference throughout the year.
  4. Current/Updated Contact Information: It is imperative that our database contains updated and accurate information. This includes, but is not limited to, addresses and all phone numbers, local emergency contacts, and the email addresses that you would like to use to receive school communications. Our 1st Day Packet will contain directions on how to log in, set up an account, and use the Parent Portal in PowerSchool. New families have had this already mailed to them.
  5. Student Picture Use: There are many wonderful events that occur throughout the year at Hawley School. We love to share pictures of them with you through our website, newsletters, Twitter and the Newtown Bee. We can only use your child's likeness with your yearly permission. You can grant this by updating your student's information in PowerSchool using the ParentPortal. Again, we need permission granted each year.


  • Mon, Aug 16- ParentPortal Opens: Find out your student's teacher
  • Fri, Aug 27: K Bus Run (8:00-9:30)
  • Fri, Aug 27: Student WalkThrough (9:30-10:30)
  • Mon, Aug 30- 1st DAY OF SCHOOL
  • Aug 30-Sept 1- 3 Hr Early Dismissal (12:37 pm)
  • Mon, Sept 6- No School: Labor Day
  • Tues, Sept 7- No School: Rosh Hashanah
  • Wed, Sept 8: Open House K-2
  • Thurs, Sept 9: Open House 3-4
  • Thurs, Sept 16: No School: Yom Kippur

~ Funny Bones ~

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Our Website

Our website contains a tremendous amount of information and has the answers to most questions including, but not limited to, dates to remember, forms, handbooks, pictures, access to PowerSchool, PTA information, teachers websites and much more.

Click HERE to visit the Hawley website.


Follow us on Twitter @hawley_school to see pictures and to learn more about all things occurring at Hawley. You can also see Twitter Happenings on our school website.

  • For us to use your child's likeness, we need your permission. Permission must be given yearly. You can grant it via the ParentPortal.

Click HERE to go to the Hawley Twitter page.

Final Thoughts

Well, we are not beginning this school year quite the way we all had hoped. With so much out of my control, I refuse to get down or get upset about everything. I choose to see all the wonderful people helping each other and celebrate a brand new school year and am thrilled that teachers and students are returning to the building.

What we accomplished as a School Community last year was extraordinary. I could not be more proud to be the educational leader of Hawley School. We have such caring and dedicated staff that always put kids first. Our PTA provides such an array of student/family activities and cultural arts programming. You parents are so supportive of our work. And, if I can be so bold to say, we have the BEST students around.

There will be changes, challenges and frustrations but we will address everything that comes our way as we did before. I will keep you posted of everything going on and remain committed to assist with all questions, concerns and needs. REMEMBER, I have created a Google Document for questions. You can add any question to the document and I will answer it as soon as I have the most updated information. Review this document often for previously asked questions and the most current information. Click HERE for the document. Soon, it will also be on our School Website, under Hawley Parent Resources.

Thank you for all that you have done and will do. If you have any difficulties opening links, if any information is confusing, or if there are any questions that you have, please reach out to me.

A Pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity.

An Optimist sees an opportunity in every difficulty!

~ Sir Winston Churchill